Healing hurtful memories

A Christian Science perspective.

Many people struggle with painful memories. Fearful or hurtful experiences from the recent or even the distant past haunt them, overshadowing peace and happiness in the present. But these memories will cease to torment us as we replace them with a recognition that we are actually spiritual and have always been in God's care.

The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, speaking of those who hold a cherished place in one's memory, once wrote, "Memory, faithful to goodness, holds in her secret chambers those characters of holiest sort, bravest to endure, firmest to suffer, soonest to renounce" ("Pulpit and Press," p. 5).

I love the first phrase of that sentence, "Memory, faithful to goodness…" I like to think of it in regard to memory in general. As the men and women of God's creating, we have no mind apart from God. Because true memory is faithful to good, to God alone, there are no obligatory recollections of a painful past to perpetuate hurt in the present.

True memory is an activity not of the human mind but of the divine Mind that is God. Realizing this truth, and steadfastly holding to it, can free us from rerunning again and again a mental video of painful or hurtful events. This isn't blocking out things that are too unhappy to contemplate. Rather, it's accepting the spiritual fact that evil has neither place nor space in divine reality. Speaking of God, the prophet Habakkuk said, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity" (Hab. 1:13).

God is all-knowing and all-seeing, and cognizes only the uninterrupted, continuous unfolding of good in His creation. God doesn't cling to or call to remembrance evil circumstances, because they never happened in the divine Mind. Being no part of His immortal memory, they truly can't be part of our memory as His sons and daughters.

In our spiritual history, evil never happened. We have never for an instant been outside God's watchful, tender care. Even where circumstances argue otherwise, a firm commitment to this spiritual truth will bring peace and healing.

When one wakens from a frightening or disturbing dream, there's a great sense of relief as he or she finds that the nightmare was unreal. So, too, those past experiences that constitute painful memories can be seen through the lens of Christian Science to have no true history. The torment of such recollections can be effaced from consciousness as we learn that we reflect divine Mind, in which is no memory of evil.

It's right to cherish all the good from past experiences, because that which is truly good has its source in God. But it's possible, and necessary, to rule out of consciousness the disturbing recollections that claim to be a part of our human history. Gratefully accepting that true memory is faithful to good alone, we'll free ourselves from remembering the pains or sorrows of the past and rejoice more and more in the awareness of changeless, ever-present good.

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